When do Apple wireless devices appear in AirPort Utility?

When AirPort Utility is opened, a list of Apple wireless devices appear in the wireless device list. Devices appear in the wireless device list so you can individually select and configure them. Apple wireless devices include AirPort Extreme Base Station, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule.

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An Apple wireless device appears in AirPort Utility in any of the situations below:

  • The Apple wireless device has not yet been configured; typically a device you have just purchased.
  • You have previously configured the Apple Wireless device, but you have either used "Restore Default Settings..." from AirPort Utility or performed a hard reset.
  • Your computer is connected by Ethernet. Then, you see all Apple wireless devices that are connected to your local network.
  • You are connected to a specific wireless network. Then, all Apple wireless devices which make up that network appear.
  • You currently have an internet connection. Then, you will see Apple wireless devices outside of your local network if both your computer and the devices are configured to use your Back To My Mac (BTMM) account.

Note: Hard resetting a device removes any settings you created on that device and restores it to the way it was when it was new.  Any firmware updates that were installed will be retained. In the case of Time Capsule, any data previously saved to the hard drive will remain. For more information about hard resetting a Time Capsule, see How to reset Time Capsule

An Apple wireless device is defined as "configured" if you have made any changes to its settings and then clicked Update in AirPort Utility.

AirPort Utility uses Bonjour in Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows to constantly locate additional devices. It will also scan for new devices every 15 seconds over the wireless network. For more information about Bonjour, visit the Bonjour support page.

Troubleshooting missing devices

If your Apple wireless device doesn't show up in the wireless device list, try the following:

  • Check to see that the device is turned on.
  • Check that the device is connected to the network via Ethernet or in wireless range of your computer.
  • Make sure the device has had adequate time to start up and become discoverable. In the case of Apple wireless devices that are not connected via Ethernet, AirPort Utility scans for new devices once every 15 seconds. From the time a device becomes discoverable (typically around one minute), it could take up to another 15 seconds before the device is displayed in the list.
  • If you have just configured a new Apple Wireless device, upgraded the firmware, selected "Restore Default Settings..." or have hard reset and configured an Apple wireless device and it does not show up in AirPort Utility after restarting, you may have an incorrect setting. You may want to hard reset the unit and set it up again.
  • If you are connected to a specific wireless network, all Apple wireless devices which make up that network will appear. However, if you "Restore Default Settings..." from AirPort Utility, or hard reset a device that is out of physical wireless range of the computer, you will need to move the device closer the computer to configure it again.
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